A Week Or Two In The Real World

Various Artists

Released 03 July 1994

  1. That's Where It's At - Van Morrison & The Holmes Brothers
  2. Oleada - Juan Canizares
  3. She Moved Through The Fair - Jam Nation
  4. Dounounia - Farafina
  5. Challaban (edit) - Hassan Hakmoun and Zahar
  6. Bayaty - Ashkhabad
  7. Politics - Karl Wallinger
  8. Vilges Suola (Live) - Mari Boine and Band
  9. Take Good Care Of Your Soul - Carole Rowley, Simon Emmerson and Raw Stylus
  10. Majurugenta (Edit) - Ghorwane
  11. El Pescador - Totó La Momposina y sus Tambores
  12. War And Crime - Lucky Dube
  13. Chinese Canon - Arcane
  14. Find Myself - Rupert Hine
  15. Maze - Mari Boine and Liu Sola

Various Artists

Liner notes

On an August afternoon in Box, Wiltshire, there’s a spot on the lawn where if you position yourself correctly, you can separate out the sounds arriving in perfect sync from five directions. The delicate acoustic plucking to your left is Moraccan sintri player Hassan Hakmoun sunk in colloquy with Spanish flamenco guitarist Juan Martin. From a little further away comes the textured throb of African tuned percussion as Burkina Faso group Farafina rev up on the lawn for visiting TV cameras. The distinctly urban rattle-and-shriek from the side is Simon Booth, formerly of Working Week, who has locked himself into a ground floor office with a machine full of rhythm tracks and is peeling off an endless yardage of frenzied wah-wah guitar. The less distinct thudding and scraping from the top floor of that quaint gable cottage is Nigel Kennedy getting to grips with his new incarnation as a fusion fiddler. And dominating the mix with a litigious spirit they’ve been displaying all day, the flock of ducks who make up the permanent genius loci of Real World Studios

Jonathan Romney


For a long time our culture and also the music has been very oppressed. The Scandinavians tried to make it disappear but they didn’t manage, it’s still alive it’s still there and I am one of those, or rather we- me and my musicians- are taking it, letting it flow.

Mari Boine


What I’m doing here is setting up different grooves and moods and then inviting musicians to express themselves. A lot of the time we don’t know where it’s heading….but we like it!

Pól Brennan


My music is such a mix up of different styles, I use music from the Chinese folk movement, reggae, dance, rock’n’roll and African. It’s based on the Chinese tradition but also influenced by music from all over the world.

Liu Sola


The 1870s British Utopian socialists like William Morris would look at this and say, “This is it” It’s even a Utopian Socialist setting, with the mill. It’s the most productive, open, non-bullshitting rock and roll environment I’ve ever been in.

Simon Emmerson


It’s a real luxury. I know I’ll never forget this week. To be exposed to so many master musicians, I feel I’m filling up with inspired energy. People are very open and intense here. You can remain in that really high state as you move around. A lot of people here, when they sing, they’re praying. My music is like that too, devotional.

Jane Siberry


The musicians love doing it, but for the companies it’s a waste of time because they’re out to get instant financial gain, not to make music. If a musician is suddenly inspired by another feeling, another kind of melody, they’re stuck. Their record companies won’t let them, their audience won’t let them. In a situation like this, you can go in and play around and grow.

Ayub Ogada


We tried to encourage a few collaborations. We want people to get outside of their own territory. There is a danger that when you mix all the different colours together you end up with a muddy brown. We want the artists to mix but not to lose the personality and vitality of who they are and what they do. Travel is still a great way of having direct one- on- one experiences with people from different countries. Many of us who participate can’t speak to each other except when we play our instruments, and then smiles break out, it’s a language for everyone.

It is a dream come true to see this place so full of people from so many different cultures and countries finding ways to work together, make music together and be together- it’s a very powerful thing. The WOMAD festival circuit now takes place in so many countries that a real sense of community develops on the road and a lot of magical moments occur.

Through WOMAD we’re able to hijack everyone for a week and bring them all to the studio. The process that takes place goes a lot deeper then jamming. The week focuses as much on writing together as playing together, and in this work we all learn the differences and the amazing amount of common elements in the way we create our music.

We don’t want to be a worthy academic label at all, we want to be vibrant, alive and kicking. We’ve always wanted to work with music that has real passion, atmosphere, grooves, and – whether it connects through the body, heart or the head – can truly touch those open enough to listen. We’d also like to have a focus on the lyrics and are trying so that poets might feel as comfortable in the Real World as musicians.

There’s still so much resistance and conservatism in the mainstream. There’s a lot of subtle, disguised racism. We would like to see the music industry open up so world music can function the way wind and rain wash away the rock face. It’s quite a feminine process, gradually making the edges more interesting and more alive, and allowing people some way in.

Peter Gabriel



  • These 16 tracks... are a non-stop delight. The Observer (UK)
  • A string of big names appeared at Peter Gabriel's West Country studio for his 1991-92 recording weeks - and this album contains the best moments...an outstanding compilation. Q Magazine (UK)
  • There's plenty here to get excited about. Folk Roots (UK)

Further Listening

  • Big Blue Ball

    Various Artists

    Released 26 July 2008

    Almost eighteen years in the making, Big Blue Ball grew from three extraordinary Recording Weeks at Real World Studios in the summers of 1991, 1992 and 1995. With Peter Gabriel and Karl Wallinger at the helm, the album features a huge cast of performers with a global reach.
  • A Week In The Real World – Part 1

    Various Artists

    Released 05 June 1992

    In August 1991 Real World Studios opened its doors to over 75 artists from 20 countries for a unique recording project. This album is the first of two volumes containing fascinating musical encounters between established and lesser-known artists from across the world at Real World Recording Week.

Further reading

The Unfolding: Bristol Light Festival

Bristol Light Festival is returns from Friday 2nd - Sunday 11th February, 2024.

John Metcalfe’s Tree in Dolby Atmos

With these new 360˚ mixes Metcalfe’s initial intentions for the album are, finally, truly deliver...

Track of the day: ‘IWAIWA FUNK’ by Bab L’ Bluz

French-Moroccan power quartet Bab L' Bluz, release the third track from their album Swaken.

Exploring Colombian artist Savan’s music inspired by Yagé medicine ceremonies

The new Real World X release is an eight-track aural journey to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.